The College of Staten Island (CSI) began resurfacing its soccer field today with $800,000 in funding from New York City Council Member James S. Oddo (R-Mid-Island).

Oddo’s funding, secured in Fiscal Year 2003, will allow the Willowbrook campus to join the ranks of many professional and college sports stadiums that are using a new type of maintenance-free artificial playing surface called “Field Turf.”

During the groundbreaking ceremony, held in the shadow of the college’s Astrophysical Observatory, Oddo announced “this is more than building a field… it’s about building a relationship.”

“Clearly, the construction of this sports field will fill a real need for our community,” Oddo continued. “It will give CSI’s athletic program a state of the art new field for its athletes to utilize. In addition, it will also provide the community with a first-class facility. I look forward to seeing the entire community enjoy this field when it is completed.”

With mounds of soil and earth-moving machinery as a backdrop, Marlene Springer, president of CSI, said “CSI is committed to providing a superior experience for all our student athletes, and we thank Council Member Oddo for his dedication not only to CSI, but to Staten Island.”

Collegiate sporting activities will receive priority use of the new field, while community members and organizations will have access at all other times.

“Drainage issues on the field had left it mostly unused since the construction of the campus in the early 1990s,” Springer noted. “The new field, designed to duplicate the playing conditions of real grass and engineered to allow maximum drainage, is expected to see its first game before November.”

The field is being installed by the LandTek Group of Amityville, Long Island. Marty Lyons, a former NY Jet, is the sales and marketing director of the company. Recent projects by LandTek include an NCAA Division 1 baseball field at Hofstra University, and the NY Jets Training Facility.